Over on another site, there is an intresting discussion raging about Global Warming. Just thought that I would cross post my first response over here.
Let's just stick to facts:
Over the last century the average temperature has climbed about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 of a degree Celsius) around the world.
That's from 2004. A lot has happened since then.
So, now we have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that global warming exists, is happening, is real.
The debate seems to be over two other points - 1) Do we have a global effect? and 2) What is it going to cause?
Let's start with the last one... and go to the most extreme real world example we have.
Look at Venus. That is the classic example of runaway global warming - and some think that is where we are headed. Are we? Who knows. I don't. However it is possible that we could end up with a Venus on our hands.
If you look at the theory about the gasses trapped in the permafrost, add in some basic albedo calculations, factoring the loss of ice (highly reflective to heat), the Earth just might become a pressure cooker.
Will it? There is a chance. What is that chance? I dunno. Should we try and do something to stop it? I believe that we should. Should the government do it? That is an entire other question, but suffice it to say, since they are taking our taxes, I would rather see that money spend on alternative fuels/energy research then some of the other silly pork barrel projects that are running amok.
Current theories believe that Venus might have been earth like at one time, however due to several factors, dumped all of it's Carbon and H20 into it's atmosphere in a horrific version of global warming.
So, with that in mind, do we contribute to the effects? Yes, with out a doubt we do.
World carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase steadily in the IEO2006 reference case, from 25.0 billion metric tons in 2003 to 33.7 billion metric tons in 2015 and 43.7 billion metric tons in 2030. Carbon dioxide is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and anthropogenic (human-caused) emissions of carbon dioxide result primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels for energy.
I ask one simple question: How can 20 - 30 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide not have some effect?
Take, for example Volcanos...
On the Big Island, we have a significant natural source of greenhouse gas. Kilauea volcano emits more than 700,000 tons of CO2 each year, less than 0.01% of the yearly global contribution by human sources
And, that's in 1998. Almost 10 years later, the anthropogenic emissions have steadily risen. Do we have an effect? You bet.
Is all of this correct? Possibly: that's why they are called theories and not laws. A theory is a working set of assumptions on how something works. When a theory breaks because of new evidence or what ever, you either change the theory or discard it and start anew. That's what science is, folks. Science is not about faith - it's about proof and skepticism. It is grounded in empirical reality.